In 2016, Grace Paek traveled to Australia to train new leaders for what is now called Global Coffee Break, a part of the Christian Reformed Church’s Raise Up Global Ministries.
One of the best parts of the trip was being on hand as Rev. Suk Dong Kim, pastor of North Seaside Korean Church, became Global Coffee Break’s center director for Australia. Paek watched as pastors gathered around him to bless him and pray for him.
But that’s just one highlight from Paek’s travels around the world to train Coffee Break leaders in an inductive Bible study program she first learned about in the mid-1990s when a Coffee Break trainer visited Galilee Korean Christian Reformed Church, the church Paek and her husband, Kyu, founded in Albuquerque, N. Mex.
Logging many miles every year, Paek, now the Global Coffee Break Coordinator and Representative, has visited Japan, South Korea, Brazil, Argentina, the Philippines, Germany and Italy.
“It has been such a blessing to be part of Coffee Break, a ministry that I know is pleasing to God,” she said. “We get together in Coffee Break and open the Bible together, and the leader has questions so we can go deeper to know God.”
Paek had planned to be in Orange County, Calif., in late June to speak and conduct training at this year’s Global Coffee Break conference. But COVID-19 forced the ministry to hold the conference online. Nonetheless, Paek said she was eager to participate from home.
“Even though this conference happened online, she said, “we were still able to reach out to many people from many countries.”
Held June 18-26, the conference was large and diverse, drawing people from Uganda, Germany, France, the Czech Republic, Italy, Nepal, India, Taiwan, Korea, Japan, Canada, the United States, Mexico, and Argentina.
“There were people from 180 different churches,” Paek said. “In the U.S., many of the attendees were from states such as Hawaii and Alaska. Normally they wouldn’t be able to come because it would be so far to travel.”
In fact, said Paek, this might have been the largest Global Coffee Break conference ever.
Among the 413 people who signed up for the conference were 40 pastors, nearly 100 pastors’ spouses, and 14 missionaries. A number of those were first-time attendees.
The conference included opening and closing services, nine main sessions, six optional sessions, and a range of interactive breakout sessions. More than 60 small groups met several times.
Paek said leaders shared their experiences of starting and growing Coffee Break ministries in their churches, and conferencegoers also learned how missionaries use Coffee Break materials in India, Mexico, and Colombia.
“Evangelism is a very important part of Coffee Break,” she said. “It is focused on non-Christians. It is low-key. We become friends with those who attend, and we glorify God together.”